Few things are certain in SAP, but one thing for certain is every Fiori deployment needs a Fiori Front End Server (FES). However, every deployment team must answer the question: ‘How will the FES be deployed?’ Fiori FES contains the grouping of technologies that are required to leverage the improved UI and mobility that Fiori offers. Each available deployment option has pros and cons including from cost, upgradability and connectivity. Changing the deployment scenario down the road would require considerable effort so selecting the deployment option that meets both current and future needs is critical.
When using an on-premise SAP backend like S/4HANA, there are two main deployment options and a third relatively new option I’ll cover later:
- Recommended for SAP S/4HANA – An embedded FES deployment. The FES and SAP backend exist on the same server.
- Recommended for SAP Business Suite – A FES as a standalone server or hub deployment. The FES and SAP Backend exist on different servers. This can connect to one or more backends.
- New and Developing Option – A centralized FES on SAP Cloud Platform connected to the SAP backend through a Cloud connector. This can used in conjunction with other launchpads.
Let’s take a closer look at an embedded deployment. For the latest FES versions, either an embedded or hub deployment can be used. However, as mentioned earlier, for S/4HANA the embedded deployment is recommended by SAP. This is also an option for a Business Suite backend with a single system.
A few of the key advantages of going with an embedded deployment include:
- Avoiding upgrade co-dependency
- The FES and the S/4HANA version must correspond. An S/4HANA backend of version 2020 requires a FES of version 2020. Similarly, an 1809 FES requires an 1809 backend. For an embedded system, this simply means upgrades to the backend and the FES happen at the same time. However, in the hub world, this means that in a scenario in which 6 S/4HANA systems were connected to a single FES hub, if a single S/4HANA system needs to be upgraded, the other five systems and the FES must be upgraded at the same time!
- Avoiding double administration
- Embedding the FES means all content ownership, roles and authorization and other administrative tasks only need to be performed in one system. In a hub system, every app, user, role must be administered in both systems. This burden alone can be a reason to go with an embedded deployment.
- Single physical system
- Embedded FES exists on the same physical server. In a hub system each needs their own server. Costs for DEV, TEST and PROD must be considered.
- Faster performance
- Having the FES and backend on the same server allows for faster performance when compared to a hub deployment. A hub required the use of remote function calls and data caching which can lead to performance issues.
What about Hub Deployments?
It’s not all bad news for a hub deployment though. There are situations in which it is preferable to continue to use a hub deployment:
- It is still the recommended deployment option when using Fiori with SAP Business Suite. It is possible to create a single point of entry for SAP SRM, SAP ERP and SAP CRM using the hub FES deployment. It is possible to add-on an S/4HANA system and either connect it like the Business Suite applications or even deploy with its own embedded FES. For the latter case, organizations can create a link in the hub FES to launch the embedded launchpad.
- Additionally, a hub FES can be used as a central point of access for multiple S/4HANA systems with embedded FES. The hub allows for custom content, release-independent central apps like MyInbox and Self-Services as well as custom tiles to launch the system-specific FESs.
- Finally, a hub could also be used in a scenario in which exposing the FES, but not the backend, to the internet is desired. This can provide an additional layer of security while still offering some connectivity. This can also give the infrastructure team more comfort to deploy easily accessible Fiori apps on mobile devices.
SAP Business Technology Platform (formerly known as SAP Cloud Platform Launchpad)
One final developing new option for FES is SAP Cloud Platform’s SAP Business Technology Platform service. The vision for this platform is to be a central point of access for any information or navigation a business user needs. It allows organizations to centralize and streamline the UX for common business tasks. The service is not a full-scale replacement for all existing Fiori launchpads in an organization, but rather allows end users to start their workflow in a single location and quickly access information from multiple systems they may interact with.
Visit SAP’s whitepaper on SAP Fiori Deployment Options and System Landscape Recommendations to learn more.